How To Win At Office Politics Without Being A Massive Jerk
You're bound to run into problems with workplace politics at one point or another. How can you confront it and emerge victorious?
Here’s the thing: workplace politics is inevitable. If you work in a company where ALL its employees are secure and content with every aspect of their job… hit us up cause you’ve found the holy grail of workplaces.
But seriously, at one point or another in your career, you’re bound to get caught in some sort of power play. Why? When someone’s ambition or ego is on the line, this creates competition, and oftentimes, miscommunication.
People get so caught up in their goals and their perceived right to power that it can easily lead to conflict. So if you can’t avoid office politics, what can you do to overcome it without being part of the problem? You don’t have to sell your soul to the devil and turn into a giant asshole to win at workplace politics.
Here are some practical ways to deal with workplace politics
1. Get people on your team
When someone is out to get you, it really pays to have the right people on your side. Treat your coworkers with kindness and build your relationships.
It also wouldn’t hurt to get on your higher-ups’ good side. Build rapport by asking them for their advice every now and then. But remember that nobody likes a kiss-ass — you want to gain favour by being genuinely interested in what they have to say.
2. Watch your back
Even though you’re great at your job and are generally well-liked, someone may be so intimidated by your success that they’d go out of their way to undermine you. But you can’t address the issue unless you know who’s stabbing you in the back.
For signs on what kind of coworkers you shouldn’t trust, read this article on toxic coworkers.
3. Don’t take things too personally
Don’t let that person ruin your day and affect your positive outlook. Understand that this person probably just feels threatened by your awesomeness and is feeling more than a little insecure.
That doesn’t excuse their behaviour, but at least by understanding their motivations, you can move on and just focus on your work. Which brings us to our next item…
4. Respond with grace
It’s important that you maintain your composure and professionalism when someone makes you look bad. This doesn't mean, however, that you should be a pushover. Stand up for yourself, but don't be rude about it.
If their criticism is valid, accept it and let them know that you're working on improving. If not, present them with facts that show them how their conclusions are irrational. We know staying level-headed is easier said than done when you're being targetted, but taking the high road is more satisfying in the long run.
5. Let your work speak for you
Even though a toxic coworker may be doing all they can to make you look bad, if you excel at your job, bad-mouthing you can only backfire. Concentrate on building your credibility by going above and beyond what is expected of you.
6. Watch your own actions
If you’re surrounded by toxic people, it’s easy to get caught up and engage in these toxic behaviours as well. But you shouldn’t feed the negativity in the office. If you hear a rumour, don’t spread it.
Maintain relationships with everyone — not just one office clique. Your positive actions might not change your coworkers’ attitudes, but by refusing to engage, you’ll also be avoiding conflict in the long run.
How do you deal with workplace politics? Share some tips in the comments!
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